Pete Mulvihill of Green Apple recommends

By Pete Mulvihill of Green Apple Books

Don't forget: this book below is available at 20% off for tablehopper readers for two weeks following this mention at Green Apple Books—simply use the code "tablehopper" at checkout (either at the store or online) for your discount.

When I first saw this book, with high-end cookery store Sur la Table's imprint on the cover, I thought, why would I pay $35 for a Sur la Table catalogue when I can get one for free? But Things Cooks Love is much more than a catalogue of expensive and obscure items you can buy to make your kitchen look like the back room of The French Laundry.

For one thing, they brought in local cookbook eminence grise Marie Simmons to put it together. In this book, Simmons travels the world and presents tools such as the suribachi, the tortilla press, the chinois, the cocotte (see below to win one!), and the tawa. Not neglected are more familiar items such as terracotta bakeware, pasta machines, and cast-iron. She includes an encyclopedic explanation of each tool, as well as usage tips and care instructions. Best of all, each implement is accompanied by several recipes. The perfect gift for the cook who loves to spend time in the kitchen, but doesn't yet have a karahi.

And now, that contest:
The generous folks at Sur la Table have bestowed upon us a beautiful sunflower-yellow Staub cocotte (just like the one featured on the cover of the book above) to give away; it's a $200 value and the perfect tool for braising just about anything. It could be yours merely for writing us a very short essay (50 words or less) about what your favorite kitchen gadget/tool is and why. Bonus points for difficulty, humor, obscurity and the like. Cookbook legend Paula Wolfert has generously agreed to judge the winning entry. Entries must be sent via email to contest [at] greenapplebooks [dot] com no later than May 31st, 2008.

Thanks for reading.